Publications by authors named "Jenni N Weeks-Gorospe"

2 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Diverse genetic regulon of the virulence-associated transcriptional regulator MucR in Brucella abortus 2308.

Infect Immun 2013 Apr 14;81(4):1040-51. Epub 2013 Jan 14.

Department of Microbiology and Immunology, East Carolina University School of Medicine, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.

The Ros-type regulator MucR is one of the few transcriptional regulators that have been linked to virulence in Brucella. Here, we show that a Brucella abortus in-frame mucR deletion strain exhibits a pronounced growth defect during in vitro cultivation and, more importantly, that the mucR mutant is attenuated in cultured macrophages and in mice. The genetic basis for the attenuation of Brucella mucR mutants has not been defined previously, but in the present study the genes regulated by MucR in B. abortus have been elucidated using microarray analysis and real-time reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR). In B. abortus 2308, MucR regulates a wide variety of genes whose products may function in establishing and maintaining cell envelope integrity, polysaccharide biosynthesis, iron homeostasis, genome plasticity, and transcriptional regulation. Particularly notable among the MucR-regulated genes identified is arsR6 (nolR), which encodes a transcriptional regulator previously linked to virulence in Brucella melitensis 16 M. Importantly, electrophoretic mobility shift assays (EMSAs) determined that a recombinant MucR protein binds directly to the promoter regions of several genes repressed by MucR (including arsR6 [nolR]), and in Brucella, as in other alphaproteobacteria, MucR binds to its own promoter to repress expression of the gene that encodes it. Overall, these studies have uncovered the diverse genetic regulon of MucR in Brucella, and in doing so this work has begun to define the MucR-controlled genetic circuitry whose misregulation contributes to the virulence defect of Brucella mucR mutants.
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April 2013

Naturally occurring swine influenza A virus PB1-F2 phenotypes that contribute to superinfection with Gram-positive respiratory pathogens.

J Virol 2012 Sep 6;86(17):9035-43. Epub 2012 Jun 6.

Department of Infectious Diseases, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee, USA.

A combination of viral, bacterial, and host factors contributes to the severity and overall mortality associated with influenza virus-bacterium superinfections. To date, the virulence associated with the recently identified influenza virus protein PB1-F2 has been largely defined using models of primary influenza virus infection, with only limited assessment in models of Streptococcus pneumoniae superinfection. Specifically, these studies have incorporated isogenic viruses that differ in the PB1-F2 expressed, but there is still knowledge to be gained from evaluation of natural variants derived from a nonhuman host species (swine). Using this rationale, we developed the hypothesis that naturally occurring viruses expressing variants of genes, like the PB1-F2 gene, can be associated with the severity of secondary bacterial infections. To test this hypothesis, we selected viruses expressing variants in PB1-F2 and evaluated outcomes from superinfection with three distinct Gram-positive respiratory pathogens: Streptococcus pneumoniae, Staphylococcus aureus, and Streptococcus pyogenes. Our results demonstrate that the amino acid residues 62L, 66S, 75R, 79R, and 82L, previously proposed as molecular signatures of PB1-F2 virulence for influenza viruses in the setting of bacterial superinfection, are broadly associated with enhanced pathogenicity in swine in a bacterium-specific manner. Furthermore, truncated PB1-F2 proteins can preferentially increase mortality when associated with Streptococcus pyogenes superinfection. These findings support efforts to increase influenza virus surveillance to consider viral genotypes that could be used to predict increased severity of superinfections with specific Gram-positive respiratory pathogens.
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September 2012